Financial Focus: How To Build a Business in 5 Steps


By Professor Anthony Rivieccio MBA PFA

I currently host a financial television show on the internet called Financial Focus University ( you can find on the NY Parrot YouTube & Facebook channels). I recently discussed about the realities of self employment.

How do those commericals go? Be your own boss! Live the life you want to live? Well, it’s 50% true and 50% garbage. 

The reality is this: Want to create your own bureaucracy, your own products and have the time flexibility to do so, at less money, for more leisure? Yes & No! 

25 years ago , 4 brokers from Wall Street who were top ” salespeople” but we’re frustrated with the bureaucracy, said, ” Hey, were good at Sales. We won’t need Wall Street! We can do this ourselves- because we’re great at Sales”.

And The Financial Advisors Group was born

And we had NO IDEA what to do next. We were not Registered with the Governments! We had no product to sell? No Paperwork to make Sales ( which I guess was ok because we had no product to sell). We had no Marketing Skills! We had no Administration skills. We had no Finance skills! We had Sales skills!

We were in trouble! I guess we forgot that outside of Sales, Wall Street did the rest for us . 

We realized quickly that those ” pieces” all make to ” Building a Business”. Whether it’s Stocks, Bonds Mutual Funds or Apples, Milk and Clothes, Building a Business, is like Building a House and these ” floors” must all be built and work together

1st Floor: The Foundation of the House

You must be licenced to do business in the United States. Federal & State Registration.

  1. Federal Registration. You want to get a SS4 form , from the IRS. It is a 1 page form that describes many elements of your future business: your name of the business, your products and services, the structure of the business etc. Unless you have a criminal record, most people will receive a congratulations letter with a EIN . Your Employer Identification Number (EIN) in the business world is equivalent to your Social Security number in the business world, as you will need it for many things, including future transactions, opening business bank accounts, etc. But now your only halfway done
  2. State Registration- while The Federal Registration is universial- State Registration is different, as per the law of that State. In short, every State has a County Based Business Registration office. In New York City for example, we have 5 boroughs or counties, and there is a Business Registration Dept located in each borough , normally near your nearest county Federal & State Government offices. You must bring 3 items :

1- Your Federal IRS EIN letter

2- Your Photo ID card

3- Your Utility bill

Fill out a State Form, by the time you walk out with your new sealed business certificate, guess what? You are now a businessperson, with the same rights, liberties and responsibilities as a business person just as big as Twitter or your local bodega. This 1st floor is so important as in just like building a house, you want to make sure the first floor is structurally solid- to hold the other floors. Or in layman’s terms, legal!.

Now while the other floors do not have to be in any order, what’s most important is that you have them up and running ASAP and all intertwined with the business. I will though make a short recommendation

2nd Floor. Marketing

Ok, your federal and state registered. You have a product to sell or service to offer. How do you get that ” cheek in the seat” so your ” Sales” team can offer them your product? Yep, we were in that same situation. We have great investments, from great companies but how do we get people’s attention? Wall Street used to do the marketing for us! 

Marketing is an ever ending learning process. Learning marketing will also come with learning about promotion. So how about putting together ; Press Releases? Radio advertising? Flyers in the street? Referrals from Friends? Building a Website? Trust me I can go on, but now what do you put in that marketing? A promotion! A 20% discount? Buy 2 get 1 one Free? A Free sample? A 25% off holiday coupon? You need a cheek in the seat! But first you need people to notice!. That’s Marketing 

3rd Floor- Sales 

Yes , now you have that cheek in that seat. Now talk up the benefits of your products and services. Sign them up ! Get that check? Make sure all agreements are signed! Congratulations! Two questions through? What are you going to do with the check and where did you get the paperwork to do this transaction? 

4th Floor Administration

Yes, The Financial Advisors Group, had to create their own paperwork, make sure it conformed to legal standard . Sounds like paperwork? Hello Administration Dept. 

5th Floor Finance

Still have that check? I think it’s a good idea to put it in your new bank account? Who handling the business books? The payroll? The IRS accounting? Hello Finance Dept. 

So yes, while The Financial Advisors Group is celebrating their 25th anniversary, I would also say it might have taken us 3 years, just to put a basic foundation in place. We had the ” Sales” Floor- we did not have the other 4. And you will spend every day making a piece of the other 4 floors, better & better.

Was/ Is it worth it? Did those 25 year dreams come true? Yes & No

In 1996, being top salespeople on Wall Street , we were making $37k ( which is equivalent to $80k today) but we were working at least 100 hours a week. We didn’t mind- but our stomachs did. I , for example went into Wall Street in 1991,  already chubby at 148 pounds. By 1998, I was 168 pounds, fat, By 2001, 172 pounds, and fatter,  in stomach and wallet.

Today, 22 years later,  our average consultant makes about $50,000 and works 3 days a week. With our own Marketing, Sales , Administration, Finance and bureaucracy. The extra time allows us to implement other things in our lives that we could not have done in the corporate world. Myself, today, I am now at 152 pounds ( lost 20 pounds), an adjunct professor in Personal Finance at 2 Universities, including most humbly, where I received by Bachelor’s Degree. As some reading this might also know, I have been an avid community activist in my community trying to keep a sound quality of life, being a member of my local community board since 2008. And , now for 25 years, celebrating our how to personal finance article that you are reading, Financial Focus, now circled without the world, and finally , this year hosting a TV show called Financial Focus University.

Less money! More control of your life and scheduling!. Would I do it over again? 

Well, I don’t know about you but I’ll tell you a secret. I don’t remember quitting my Wall Street job. The last I remember is that , 25 years ago, we were set up with a brand new supervisor, that even though my sales team was the best in our firm, this new supervisor , not knowing our industry would right you up in your file for displine reasons like, being up to 2 minutes late for a meeting? Why? It was not in the firm manual. I think the night of the same day that I volunteered to choke out my new supervisor with his own necktie, the team decided to go out to drink that night , and to my friends remembering, they said ” we faxed in” our registrations ??

A Legacy? Or More Money? Or a moderation of both!?. Yes we all could use extra money, but at what cost to our short & long term life! Myself, I realized I could not live in a corporate world, so I would live in my own . Yes I think I still pull in 100 hours a week sometimes,  but only 3 days a week of that is on work! And yes I make on average, 33% less, than the average person on Wall Street today ( today their avg is 80k) , however, we know 50k is the general NYC average in income so we have always said, ” were not thriving but we are surviving” 

Self employment is a wonderful thing. The commericals are really only ½ true. But if you had or have a wonderful ” supervisor” like we did , then think about building a business.

Today COVID brings even more challenges— or maybe opportunities!? We hope this helps. 

Professor Anthony Rivieccio, MBA PFA, is the founder of The Financial Advisors Group, celebrating its 25th year as a full service  investment planning & management firm . Anthony is also owner of Rivieccio Financial Advisors, a virtual only financial planning & advisory firm, opened in 2021. 

Mr. Rivieccio pens a financial article called “Money Talk” along with ” Financial Focus”. Mr. Rivieccio, a recognized financial expert since 1986, has been featured by many national and local media including: Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, The New York Post, News 12 The Bronx, Bloomberg News Radio, BronxNet Television, the Norwood News, The West Side Manhattan Gazette, Labor Press Magazine, Financial Planning Magazine, WINS 1010 Radio, The Co-Op City News, The New York Parrot, The Bronx News, ,  The Bronx Chronicle & The Parkchester Times. 

Anthony is also currently an Adjunct Professor of Business, Finance & Accounting for both, City University of New York & Monroe College, a Private University. 

Financial Focus University TV can be seen every Friday , Live 5PM, on The NY Parrot Facebook & YouTube page channels .

 Ask The Professor is your new Personal Finance Do It Yourself community found in Facebook Groups.

For financial assistance, Anthony can be reached at (347) 575-5045. Have Facebook? My email is My personal page is

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